Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blogging from A to Z: Television

Blogging from A to Z is a month long challenge to post every day of the month (excluding Sunday) using a different letter of alphabet. This month I'm sharing unusual book marketing tips as part of my Marketing From The Edge Series.

Just to be clear right from the get go, I'm not talking about booking a spot on CNN or Rachel Ray. Maybe, in time and with a lot of luck, that will happen someday. But honestly, you really can't plan for that kind of thing. You can, however, work toward a smaller goal and work your way up.

Start super local and contact your local news station. You can also see if your area has a public access cable show. Either or both of these will work for our purposes. If your hometown is anything like mine, they are always looking for special interest pieces to run throughout the day.

Now, you may be wondering what kind of sales bump you can expect from a five minute spot at 5:45 on Tuesday morning. Honestly, not much. But, with permission from the station, you can post the video clip on YouTube and your website. This benefits you in several ways.

First, there's something very professional about appearing on TV. Showing up on the airways automatically gives you a level of expertise that can't be bought. 

Second, Google loves video. This increases your chance of other readers finding you, gaining you new exposure outside of the average guest blog.

Third, media loves media. When you send your press packet to another outlet, such as a bigger news station, you can include a link to your local news spot. This shows that you are already a story and that you are capable of participating in a segment. I say this because not everyone makes a good story. Some guest stutter and stumble all over their words or freeze up on questions, making it harder for the host. If you can show you are good at taking and answering questions, another station will know they aren't taking a huge risk by scheduling you.

Being on TV may not be the huge lift authors used to get from a mention on Oprah, but it can be a great way to get some unconventional exposure that can lead to bigger and better marketing for you and your book.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blogging from A to Z: Snail Mail

Blogging from A to Z is a month long challenge to post every day of the month (excluding Sunday) using a different letter of alphabet. This month I'm sharing unusual book marketing tips as part of my Marketing From The Edge Series.
Snail Mail

We are inundated every day with email, status updates, tweets, texts and notifications...all of them digital. When was the last time you got an honest to goodness letter in the mail? Personally, I can't remember.

When the time comes, consider sending out a personal letter to your friends and family members. Let them know about your book, ask them to share in your excitement and thank them for the support they showed during the process. If you can, include a coupon code or offer to send them a free copy of the book. Don't make this a sales letter. We get enough of those in the mail. We call them junk mail. Don't create junk mail.

And you don't have to stop there. If you have an event planned, consider sending an actual letter out to local libraries and the media. Or consider a handwritten thank you to anyone who's been a part of getting your book out there.

Obviously, this takes more time and isn't always going to be appropriate, but an actual piece of mail can have the effect of standing out in today's tech heavy world. The recipient knows you took more than a few minutes to fire off an email and that can only work in your favor.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Blogging from A to Z: Reader Reward Contest

Blogging from A to Z is a month long challenge to post every day of the month (excluding Sunday) using a different letter of alphabet. This month I'm sharing unusual book marketing tips as part of my Marketing From The Edge Series.
Reader Reward Contests
As an author you can't ever stop trying to expose new readers to your work. At least, not if you want sales to continue. That said, in marketing there is a truth that is applicable here. It is easier (and cheaper) to retain an existing customer than to obtain a new one. What does that mean? It means, don't ever forget about the readers you already have. Not only will these fans be more likely to buy your next book, they will also help to spread the word about all your books to new readers. 

That's why I love the idea of reward contests that are specifically targeted to folks who have already read and loved your book. Due to the audience for this kind of contest, you'll  have to wait until at least a month or so after your book releases before this will be effective. 

So what kind of contest works best? It should have two components. The first is a focus on the content of the book. The second is a public space. Let's break those down.

A focus on the content makes it so only people who  have read your book can participate. Of course, you'd never make that an actual rule, but it will be understood. This creates exclusivity that makes your readers feel special, like part of the in crowd. 

Here are some ideas for a content focused contest:
1. Readers create their own advertisement or trailer for the book
2. Readers create their dream cast list
3. Readers create an original song or artwork that represents the book

Contests like this invite readers to make the book their own and take ownership of the story.

Once you've determined what the contest will be, you need a public space to host it. While the contest will target existing readers, by holding in a public space you invite others to see what all the excitement is about. The ideal space will depend on the type of contest you hold, but consider sites that allow users to view content without logging in. For example, anyone can view content on Tumblr or YouTube, even if they don't have an account.

I would advise against hosting the contest on your own site, though you'll definitely want to talk about it there. While your own website or blog allows you to control the format, you lose some visibility. On more public spaces, you increase the chance that people will find your contest entries when they follow one of those internet rabbit holes that tend to suck us all in. Remember, the contest is about recognizing your existing readers, but that doesn't mean it can pull double duty to attract new readers.

The reward can be any number of things, so long as it's something your readers will want. I would suggest keeping this more personal, a reward readers can only get from you. This means an Amazon gift card probably isn't the best idea. Remember that these readers are invested in you and your books. The reward can be something intangible, like including their artwork in your next book, or taking their video and posting it on your site. Give your readers an experience and they'll give you their loyalty.
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